This is another 3D printed project from thingiverse. The designer of this prop has done an absolutely amazing job in terms of accuracy and instructions. This reactor can be printed and assembled without any further additions and still be an impressive thing to display but as always I intend on adding a few additional details along the way to give a little more realism to the finished prop
Aside from the obvious 3D printed parts, the designer had allowed areas for the reactor to be improved by adding LED's and fastening the parts together with bolts for added realism. I of course had to include these; why have an arc reactor that doesn't light up? The LED's as well as the power source were purchased from Ebay for very little. The LED's cost £1.50 and the power source was actually another smaller LED set with battery holder for the extremely large sum of £2. The added bonus is that I now have string of very small LED's for another project in the future! I also bought some 3mm diameter copper wire for a few pounds that is normally used for card making, scrap booking etc. The bolts used were taken from my "stash" but I know that they are not very much when bought in small quantities.
The printed parts were made on my Creality Ender 2 printer and PLA was used for both the clear and black sections of the reactor. The stand was printed using Carbon fibre PLA as I intended on leaving this "as printed" and wanted something that would look impressive. I had absolutely no problems printing the parts and this I give the designer full credit. It is beautifully designed and the parts fitted together seamlessly.
Preparation & Assembly
For the preparation of the parts I elected to sand and fill using squadron putty and Halfords filler primer before spraying the parts in satin black and gold respectively. The clear section of the reactor was left as printed to ensure the best light diffusion possible. The copper wired coils however took a VERY long time! I will say that this is in part due to my choice to cut each individual strand and glue to the base frames with CA glue. I chose to do this over wrapping over the entire frame and lower clear section as this would mean that I would not be able to change any of the LED's in the future if they would fail. The rings of copper around the circumference of the reactor were also glued using CA glue however the "soldered" sections of the joints were created by using small drops of two part epoxy glue and once cured they were painted with some silver leaf paint to replicate the solder. This effect I am really pleased with as actually soldering the parts would result in melting the plastic base pieces.
The circuit is extremely simple to make being as its two runs of wire with the LED's soldered to it at the various intervals needed to insert them into the pre-made holes of the clear section of the reactor. The wires were then run through the main body of the reactor and an additional two more LED's were soldered into the "core" of the reactor to provide a central light source. The wires were then run through the back of the reactor and soldered into the small battery pack. I am also fortunate enough to be working in a university teaching aerospace engineering. This means that I have ready access to a variety of connectors used on aircraft. The particular connector that I used to simulate the chest connector from the "real" arc reactor is from the wiring harness of a scrap GE 90 gas turbine engine that was donated to the university. When the university had no more use for the harness I "relieved" it of some of its connectors for projects like this before it was disposed of. The connector which still had some wires attached to it was fed into the rear of the body of the reactor and hot glued in place. The final finishing touch to the wiring harness was to use some spare plastic wire wrap that is commonly used on 3D printers among other things.
This is yet another 3D print designed by a talented individual and shared freely with the world. I cannot begin to thank these wonderful people for sharing their talent and designs to anyone who has an interest in model making or prop collecting. I have a few more 3D print designs that I am in the process of making and look forward to sharing these with you in the near future. As always please feel free to leave comments about this piece below.